Sat in the warmth of the Easingwold School staff room we over heard a colleague talking about the Lyke Wake Walk. MMmmm, sound interesting, our ears pricked up. After some investigation we found out that some of our ‘older’ friends and family (as this was obviously something you had to do in the 60’s) had attempted the challenge but failed…
40 miles in 24 hours?….We’re fit young women aged 35-46…cant be that difficult, we thought!
We had not long since completed the 3 peaks. What could be more challenging than 26 miles up and down mountains?…. certainly not a 40 mile walk across more or less flat moorland!!!???
So, that was it. The book was bought. The maps photocopied, the route planned. Lifts sorted. Dates set. No going back. No dropping out.
We were being told: ‘Don’t forget to mark check points, take spare boots, lots of food, torch, keep in contact, don’t think you’ve failed if you drop out’…..
FAIL. DROP OUT??????!!! Not a chance we said, we had just done the 3 peaks…
It was 4:20am in the morning . Still dark and not a sole about. We stood proudly against the LWW starting stone for a photo.
That was it, we were off. Footpath good, sun rising and a good pace set. Strategically balancing the camera at various points of interest to take selfies for evidence of our adventure, and something other than our blisters to look back on and reminisce. We now know precious time was wasted. Time not just wasted taking selfies but also trying to find paths that were marked on the map and written about in the LWW book, but were not actually there…. ‘Ha, what bloody paths?’ we moaned. Also trying to find markers that were talked about in the book….’Ha, what bloody way markers?’. We were cursing by now. Some paths and way markers had seemed to have completely vanished, so just took a guess.
It all worked out…..18 hours later we reached the end, albeit in pain and with pressure sores to bring tears to your eyes, but WE DID IT, and we can tell you it is not easy! It was far more difficult than we expected.
We should have listened to you Eira!!!
We plan to do it again sometime, but quicker….it’s not going to beat us!
Thanks to Linda & Steve Williams for rescuing us at the end, the champagne made the hurting all the more bearable.
Thanks to my crazy friend and work colleague Anouska for doing it with me….wait a minute…what am I thanking her for? If she hadn’t agreed to do this then I wouldn’t have done it and I wouldn’t have experienced such pain.
Just kidding…it was a fab adventure and it has now been ticked off the
‘Why Not’ list.
Archive for August, 2015
Sat in the warmth of the Easingwold School staff room we over heard a colleague talking about the Lyke Wake Walk. MMmmm, sound interesting, our ears pricked up. After some investigation we found out that some of our ‘older’ friends and family (as this was obviously something you had to do in the 60’s) had attempted the challenge but failed…
I would like to file my report on your wonderful Lyke Wake Walk, and my crossing of it on the 21st July 2015, from Osmotherly to Ravenscar. Which I completed on 15 hours and 47 minutes, the time is less the time stopped at checkpoints. The walk was just I and my little 6 year old Cairn Terrier Maisie who accompanied me every step of the way. She is a wonderful little dog who is has always been my walking companion, and has the biggest heart possible. We completed Hadrian’s Wall in June together, and we regularly walk 20 miles plus in a day together. I hadn’t intended for her to do the whole walk with me, just maybe the first couple of sections, and the last. But she was having none of that and, trotted on very happily. We were supported by my husband Alan, at the checkpoints, with much needed coffee, sandwiches, Kit Kat bars, and doggy treats!!
Firstly I would like to thank you, and everyone involved in the club, for maintaining such a fabulous walk, and long may it continue too.
I set out on a rather miserable and dreary morning, with a persistent cold drizzle. In the semi gloom we managed to find the Lyke Wake Stone at the start, and set off with good spirits, albeit a little nervous as to what was awaiting us ahead. Slowly as the gloom lifted, and the sun began to pop its head through the clouds I marched on at a steady pace, hoping upon hope that I could perhaps make it to the other side!
I must say the first section I found quite easy, and I didn’t encounter any real difficulty. I fact I found it to be really quite enjoyable. The ascent up as I was heading towards the first checkpoint was a quite heavy going. But as it was early on I wasn’t feeling too perturbed by it. The walk through the plantation early in the morning was really beautiful and with the accompanying birdsong a very pleasant starts our journey. The views open up along Carlton Bank; I must say are really quite breath-taking. The weather played funny tricks, as it was beautiful and clear to the north, but low cloud to the south and I was unable to see the glider club. But I imagine that when you are higher up the clouds do take on a life of their own. I must say though it was an enjoyable first stage, I was more than ready of a good strong coffee, and a bite to eat.
After meeting Alan at the first checkpoint it was onwards and upwards!! Toward Drake hole. Just past the Lord Stones Café there is a lovely little plague, in memory of a gentleman named Richard, inscription upon the stone was very apt, I thought. Then onto a very lovely but, very steep climb up it was at this point I was beginning to worry that I may have bitten off more than I could chew. I could see the way up but I did need to stop once or twice to catch my breath as it is very steep, and very long. The sun began to shine in earnest, and once at the very top, I spared a few moments to enjoy the breath taking views, and have a well-earned rest. Maisie and I took the weight off for a short while, and took some truly amazingly beautiful pictures. It was very wind up there, but as I was to learn a little later nothing like it was going to get.
After a long and very muddy walk along the track a Broughton Plantation. I was grateful for the shelter of the woods, as it had begun again to rain. After passing the seat in memory to one of the Lyke Wake walker who sadly died there. I was grateful to be at the next checkpoint.
Now section 3 is the longest section, I have never been a walker that keeps too much of an eye on the time. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe not. I guess it is up to the individual walker. But I just like to enjoy as much as possible what is around me, and maybe catch a glimpse or two of any wildlife around. So I was mentally prepared for a long trek. Seeing the path stretch of a in the distant after Carr Ridge up to round Botton Head is rather daunting, but nevertheless a challenge. The real challenge I was yet to find was the disused railway line. Brian Smailes mentions in his guide that it can be windy, and boy was it windy. If I had been coming from the opposite direction, anyone would have thought I had had too many in the Lion Inn. The gusts that came up the valley at times where quite brutal and very unforgiving and a time caused me to stagger a little to one side, which I found quite hilarious!! The views down the valley are beautiful, and I saw many grouse and birds. I also noted strange little boxes with what looked like very fine gravel in them. I have not a clue what they were, or what their purpose is. So if anyone can tell me what their purpose is, I would very much appreciate it. I did later too see more of them, dotted all over the moor. To see the orange roof of the Lion Inn in the distance was a very welcome sight, but I had to going on a bit further to the lay-by near Fat Betty, as that is where Alan had parked up. The coffee, pork pie, and sandwiches where consumed gratefully. Maisie too was gratefully for a short rest. I had intended putting her in the car at this point, and continuing alone, but my game little dog was having none of that, and once she saw me readying myself for the next section was up on her feet ready to go too.
The walk along the road was a lovely gentle stroll, and it was a nice change after the railway. The white paint marking the turn off on the road to the moor was very helpful too. So thank you to whoever does, it and maintains it, as it would have been quite difficult to find otherwise.
I was fortunate that the moor wasn’t too wet, far from as wet as it could have been. We did encounter some very wet areas but luckily had no major “up to my knees in it”. The white painted stones are a god-send too. I found this section really rather enjoyable and again I never saw another living soul, apart from Grouse, and other birdlife.
Meeting Alan, on Hamer Road for our next checkpoint, again Maisie was adamant that she was going on with me. We began heading towards the Wheeldale Plantation, and my first real experience of feeling that I am never really making any progress!! On the map it didn’t look too far, and I thought progress would be reasonable, albeit difficult in places. But it seemed to go on, and on forever. Every time I looked at the wood it never seemed to change and continued on. It is a very odd experience to say the least. Eventually we came to the Blue Man-I-th’-Moss and he was a delightfully break to the endless moor. I took time here for a short break, and a favourite pick me up, Kit Kat. Once past Wheeldale Plantation and on towards Wheeldale Beck, we faced the decent down to the beck and the stepping stones. This I found really quite hard as the walk had left me quite tired. But Maisie bounded down, and took a well-earned drink from the beck and cooled her feet. The ascent up the other side is quite steep, but the strange stones laying around made it different, as some looked like sleeping dinosaurs….or made that is just my imagination. Fylingdales was now well in sight, as it had been for some time. But again it never seemed to get closer. It really is the oddest experience. I sadly only saw a diesel train, as it was gets late in the day, as I crossed the railway line heading toward Eller Beck. This was the first time all day that I had really paid any attention to the distance I had covered. I just don’t like to think about how far I have come, or how far I have yet to go. I just walk and take in what is around me. So here upon checking the guide book and realised I had only 7 more miles to go, was so what elated to say the least. Also I finally began to believe that maybe, just maybe I might complete this!
So after a brief stop, we were back on our merry way. Too finally come to Fylingdales after seeing it in the distant for so, very long, is a wonder feeling and it recharged my energy levels, and gave me a great mental boost. This section was a not quite so hard, and coming to Lilla Cross spurred me on again. Lilla Cross is a really beautiful thing, and I would suggest taking a little time to read the inscription nearby. What was the difficult part was Jugger Howe. There has been much work done here to help prevent erosion. It has been done very well, but some of the rocks, and boulders are at very different levels and can be rather tricky to navigate down, and then up the other side. It was a struggle and that is a fact. After completing so far, it was the hardest part for me. The walk to the road at checkpoint 6 was long and I felt quite slow.
I met Alan at the checkpoint 6. I decided that I wasn’t going to stop; I just dropped off my rucksack and with my goal well and truly in sight I had to push on. Again the mast for a while at least never seemed to get nearer. I now had so much more energy, and felt re-energised. I had a huge smile on my face, and felt on top of the world. The stone was then in sight. We reached it!! The feeling was immediate as I reached out to touch it. I had completed the Lyke Wake Wall!!!!
With no blisters, or sore feet, my legs ached the next day for a couple of days, but it was all very worth it.
I had said to my son on my mobile, as I walked across, the open moor, “I will never do this again”. I also said the same words to my husband. If I complete it, is now off my list. But “no” not for me. My husband likened it to having babies. While enduring the labour I would say “never again”. Only to say “I must do this again” after the delivery. I was awe inspired by this amazing, and very challenging walk. To walk the moors with only my wonderful, and loyal dog, to view the sights and sounds, to appreciate the wildness, of it all I cannot wait to return again. In fact if the weather and light allows I am hoping to be back in September. This time from Ravenscar to Osmotherly. I can see how addictive it can become. I was fortunate that I never suffered any ill effects. That is down due to the preparation, for Hadrian’s Walk in June which we completed. I would implore anyone considering doing the walk, prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. It is hard, but if you are physically ready it can, and will be an amazing, and rewarding experience. One I will treasure forever, until my legs won’t carry me any further. But the memory of that my first crossing will live with me always.
Thank you to everyone who is connected to the New Lyke Wake Club. I am now I guess officially a “Witch”, maybe with time I can make to a Mistress of Misery!! Who knows but I will be back, and soon.
Perhaps, the club could come up with something for any dogs that complete the walk? Maybe a Devil Hound or something of the like. I am sure that Maisie is not the first, or the last to complete the walk. But something to commemorate their endeavours would be nice.
Thank you again.
Yours with my very kindest regards
Marion Beesley and Maisie
After a couple of months of training, I finally plucked up the courage, if that’s the right word, to
attempt the LWW. My name is Ian Fraser, just turned 55 years of age, and a Swainby resident. As I
live around half a mile from the start of the course, near Sheepwash, I often wondered what the
Lyke Wake Walk was all about. I bought a copy of the guide book at Lordstones cafe and also
visited the LWW website. I enjoy walking but have never attempted anything approaching 40 miles
I gradually built up my walking distance over a period of weeks and hoped that my wife, Ruth,
would be able to join me on the walk itself but knee pain put paid to that plan. Finally, the big day –
Tuesday 4th August – arrived. Ruth dropped me off at the start of the route outside Osmotherly at
6.04 am. The weather was dry, cool and windy; ideal for walking really. Here’s the photo at the
The weather stayed dry for most of the day, although the wind speed over Carlton Bank and at
Urra Moor seemed particularly high and, sadly, never at my back! Since this walk was on my own
and unsupported in the sense that Ruth dropped me off and planned to meet me at Ravenscar I
had to carry all my gear with me from the start. I studied the route carefully and had the chance to
try out various sections of it in the preceding weeks. I have a Garmin etrex GPS device and
downloaded a file with the LWW route. I think I got this by following a link from the LWW website.
The starting point from the file was about a quarter mile away from the actual starting stone but for
the most part was an essential tool.
The wind picked up even more along the disused railway line on the long trail up to the
Lion Inn but after that seemed to ease a bit.
The next photo show the path alongside the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge…
The opportunity for a Selfie with Fat Betty was too good to miss….
although I don’t look particularly pleased to see her – perhaps I was contemplating the boggy
section to come!
I was really grateful for the LWW lettering painted on the road, as this gave a clear indication of
where to turn off the road….although the track soon petered out and I had to take my chances
getting over the reeds. Fortunately, this was a Summer crossing and the path was fairly dry.
After meeting the road, I had my only real problem of the day…I lost the path across to Blue Man i
The Moss. Tracking through the heather was hard going but I fortunately caught sight of a standing
stone and this brought me back onto the track.
The next section, as expected, seemed long, with lots of loose stones around to stub my toes on!
The only rain shower of the day occurred just before Wheeldale, making the steep decline rather
slippery. Had to keep up the concentration level to get across the stepping stones……
After crossing the NYM railway line at Ellerbeck, I had no sooner climbed the other side before
hearing a distant steam whistle. By this time I was too tired to consider turning back for a look at
the passing train!
I had forgotten how long the stretch from Lila Cross to Jugger Howes was. When I did this section
as a training walk, the ravine seemed to come up quickly….not so on the actual walk! The final
stretch after crossing the road was good and I felt the Beacon drawing me towards it. Must have
been starting to hallucinate as I thought I saw Ruth waving to me but, alas, it was a small tree in
the distance! Made it at last and Ruth was there to meet me and take a final picture…..
Must be an illusion but my legs seemed much shorter after the walk!
Anyway, that about completes my report of the walk. I’ll end with a couple of screen shots with my
start and end times: 6.04 actual set off time and 20.55 arrival time at Beacon Howes. Total time
about 14 hr 50 mins, including stops along the way…
And finally the Etrex output of the trek.
Anyway, I hope this report meets your requirements for membership of the exclusive Lyke Wake
The activities in question relate to a group of individuals who like to style themselves “The Bensons”. They are already well-known to the authorities, and have made a particular nuisance of themselves in the Midlands. The gang hierarchy is not clear, but Maggie is thought to be the Matriarch, with Mark acting as her enforcer, and Sarah, Sam and Charlie carrying out a variety of shady activities without heeding the consequences. They have a canine accomplice, Annie, who resembles in all respects a Border Collie, although the Bensons have let it be known that when she grows up she will be a Rottweiler. She seems to function as some kind of minder for the group.
On the night in question, the Bensons appeared in Osmotherley just before 01:00 hours in the morning. They abandoned their vehicle in the carpark, and just before 01:15, after some furtive clustering around the Lyke Wake Stone, they crept off in a northerly direction.
They must have veered to the East, as they were next spotted high up on the ridge of the Cleveland Hills. They paused several times at vantage points, and seemed to be taking photographs of the Teeside lights. Whist still on this high ridge, they paused to take in the rising sun. Whether this has some sort of ritualistic basis for the Bensons is open to question.
The group continued generally eastwards, but swung to the south, possibly because the early morning was chilly and slightly misty on the high ground, and they then seemed intent on following the course of an abandoned railway track, causing a deal of perturbation to the red grouse concentrated in that area.
In the proximity of the Lion Inn the Bensons made use of the road, moving quickly northwards then westwards. This was out of character for this group, who generally moved across roads quickly and covertly, making no contact with any vehicles or motorists, presumably to avoid detection. This was borne out by their suddenly leaving the road once more, presumably spooked by a passing car, and pushing eastwards, avoiding any confrontation with the Yorkshire Constabulary. Hellbent on their nefarious activity they even cut across an extensive bog: I think we can be sure that it was not for the purposes of admiring the swathes of cotton grass !
Although by lunchtime the weather had become very bright and sunny, the group remained largely undetected until, having traversed much further to the east, they approached the MOD establishment on Flyingdales Moor. Perhaps this location is of significance? In any case, the MOD were on high alert, and of course will receive a full report in due course. The Bensons, however, then veered to the north, moving at a slower pace now, but still resolute in their endeavour, and almost herded by their minder, Annie.
At 20:00 the Bensons were spotted, clustered around the Lyke Wake stone near the mast at Beacon Howes, Ravenscar. They were smiling grimly, and exuded an air of achievement, as though they had accomplished some deed of great significance for them. We do not yet know the nature of this deed. The Matriarch, Maggie Benson did make reference to her August 6th birthday, and related this activity in some way to the inception of the Lyke Wake Walk, but her claim that this was her 21st birthday (again) were easily refuted by the fact that two of the other Bensons were born in the mid-80s !
Given what we know of the Bensons, I suspect that this episode may lead to further activities on their part, and I am concerned that you, and the public in general, need to be made aware of this.
TimothyBee August 2015
Remembered I had never done the Lyke Wake when I was young and it was new.
Train to Northallerton and bus to Osthmotherly, ready to start walking at 12-30 but that’s much too soon. Strolled past the Youth Hostel and up the east side of the reservoir; admired the posters telling us not to bathe in cold water: still too soon. Wasted forty minutes till 2-00 then took a selfie (memo … must practise selfies) near the Lyke Wake stone and set off along the road.
Lovely: spectacular walk along the north edge of the Cleveland Hills, following signs for the Cleveland Way (which we did with my children when they were small …. honestly can’t remember the ground at all). I was caught in the open by a sharp shower near the Wain Stones but could see it coming from miles away so wrapped up in a space blanket and waited it out for fifteen minutes. Very VERY glad that Carr Ridge was the last steep ascent! Easy walking then along the road and the old railway for many, many miles. Looking from the railway embankment at the ghastly (from a walker’s point of view) terrain I felt enormous gratitude to the engineers and navvies who made this level way. Heart sank a little when my telescope revealed the red roof way up on the skyline, hence identifying the Lion Inn, target for the day and reached on schedule at 9-00 … another half hour it would have been darker and harder to find. Dinner (nice) and bed (comfortable) at the Lion but alas no breakfast because with sunrise at 5-20 I was on my way before five.
Round the roads to the very clear and welcome LWW sign just pass the Fryup Turn. I remember cycling on these roads for a long week when I was twelve and my sister ten (you wouldn’t let your children do that now, it’s a real loss). I had been worried by Much Talk of the Boggy Section but it wasn’t worse than I’ve met often enough in the Pennines and, this time, never more than ankle deep: aim straight towards that wonderful barrow on the skyline assisted by the boundary markers. The moors were teeming with grouse, and I got close to one large raptor, possibly a Hen Harrier.
Wheeldale with childhood memories (the Lodge used to be a Youth Hostel) then up and aim left of that astonishing building which has replaced the golf balls … from this side it looks like a gigantic sandcastle … keeps getting bigger as you approach … you never reach it. I heard a steam train go by and saw the steam and the smoke, but just too late to see the train itself.
Checkpoint 5 at 10-00 and from the Guide Book “there is only seven miles to complete now”. Hey even I can do seven miles in four hours, there’s an hour to spare, but I promptly get lost going up Lilla Rigg: saved by the Guide Book, the Road (WHY is it pointing due north?) and Lilla Cross: reckon I have squandered a half hour but probably can still make it. No more navigational issues because the path is so clear and in any case it points directly towards the only radio mast in sight. Keep reminding myself not to dawdle and get to the Trig Point at 1-38, twenty minutes to spare … good job I’d waited for those forty minutes at the start!
Before setting out I had wondered about staying at Raven Hall and leaving at first light to walk back to Osmotherly but I now decide NO WAY! I see the last bus to Scarborough vanish along the road so call a cab (you might think of putting some telephone numbers into the guidebook, but there was a directory in the phone booth at the boundary of Ravenscar). And so to York and home in time for dinner.
Thank you for providing this challenge and for the Guide Book which makes it possible.
Team Simon Hunter, Andrea Page, Dawn Fletcher, Eddie Fletcher, Graham Ellwood, Ian Marshall, Carol Lowery and Jim Fletcher
The omens prior to our walk were very good indeed. Not only were we to be illuminated by a rare `Blue Moon`, we were attempting the crossing on Yorkshire day of all days. There can be no finer way of celebrating this special day than by traversing the glorious north Yorkshire moors in one go.
Our intrepid party of 8 arrived at the sheepwash car park around 1.30 am and after preparations and the customary group photo`s around the Lyke Wake stone we set off at 1.50 am in a whimsical mood. The moon did not disappoint and cast an eerie soft silver hue on the surrounding moors. We made brisk progress through the woods and toiled up the first main ascent to the trigpoint at Carlton Bank. The wind grew much stronger here and the moon disappeared for long periods ensuring our head torches remained on. This made for a very interesting and unnerving descent to the road at Carlton Bank on wet rock. Our timing here was a little too quick at around 1 hr 45 mins
A steady climb took us to the view point where the first foreboding spots of rain were felt. By the Broughton plantation junction the wind and rain had whipped up and only two of our party choose to tackle the exposed high route. The lower route however was very wet and muddy so it was a close call as to which route was preferable. We regrouped at Hasty Bank road in around 3 hrs 20 mins and refuelled for the next pull up on to Urra moor.
The next long section was a challenge and although we set a good pace the repetitious hypnotic striding lead to a couple of our party almost nodding off as they walked along. We eventually arrived at the Lion Inn in just over 7 hrs where we welcomed meeting our support vehicle for the first time. After a longer rest stop than planned we set of refreshed and in reasonably good spirits as the sun made a welcome appearance.
We crossed over the moors to Fat Betty and were pleasantly surprised at the lack of bog. Fat Betty was overloaded with an array of food snacks and food but no money which was the original tradition. The next section up to Shunner Howe was also surprisingly dry with only occasional deep boggy patches and as such we bounced over it as the sun beat down on us. Over to the road at Hammer in around 9 hrs 40 mins and across the very stoney wheeldale moor. Most of us found this section quite a mental ordeal as the concentration required, with tired legs to avoid twisting an ankle or tripping, was intense.
With great relief we crossed the road and descended steeply to the welcoming wheeldale beck. It was pure bliss to soak our feet in the ice cold water and we set off again up the other side with new feet. After Simon Howe we went wrong for a while and followed the new staked path and had to detour across to the correct path down to Eller beck bridge. A laughable mistake considering I had read and noted the warnings not to follow this path on the website only the night before.
As we arrived at Eller beck in just under 13 hrs to meet our support for the second time the rain which had been threatening for a while also arrived. As we left it was becoming heavier and soon reached torrential proportions. We squelched and slid with cardboard legs over Lilla Howe (no chance of a glimpse of the finish today) and on to Jugger Howe. The consistency of the mud now was glutinous and made for some interesting gymnastics just to stay upright. This section strung our group out considerably as each retreated into their own private world of fatigue.
The downpour miraculously ceased as we reached Jugger Howe ravine and the sun made a much welcomed appearance. The descent however was greasy and tricky made more challenging with aching limbs and sluggish minds. A slumberous climb up the other side was rewarded by our first tantalizing but somewhat dispiriting view of the radio mast.
From then on our party of lemmings trudged wearily at times resembling a death march towards the unmoving mast. As we approached the last mile the clouds parted and the sun bathed us and illuminated the heather clad moors almost as reward for our indefatigability. We regrouped and walked to the radio mast in unison weary relieved but ultimately gratified with our total time of 15 hrs 50 mins
We had endured darkness, wind, spells of torrential rain, cold, heat, glutinous mud, bogs, rocky strewn tracks, energy sapping ascents, precarious descents, sleep deprivation and overcame them all with cheerfulness in the face of adversity. In the process we had experienced the beauty and magnificence of the moors in all its moods and facets. What an epic Yorkshire day.
I would like to dedicate this walk to Bernard Brindley…
We did it in 21 hours!
Starting at 7:30 walked from The Catherine Pub in Osmotherley to the LWW stone, after a little prayer and a kiss to the stone we set off to the start.
Immediately after the signpost Cleveland Way, we turned left, I immediately realised what I had done wrong the first time I attempted to do this walk 3 weeks earlier. I basically had misread the compass. Pity because Bernard had spent some time teaching me how to use it in preparation to my first walk.
We followed a very easy path to Huthwaite Green The section with set of stones that followed was tiring but not too difficult as it was still light, and dry. We cheerfully climbed up Liver Moor on Carlton Bank, 408m; Sandra chatting away. We Reached Lord Stones Cafè within 2 hours, much better in comparison to the first time I tried which took me 5 hours!
I am indebted to this cafe. On my first attempt a few weeks earlier, when I reached Huthwaite Green, I wanted to take a picture of the hut, I realised I had lost my guide book, I arrive to the cafe at 9.30, my panic was replaced by relief when a young lady opened the shop half an hour earlier than usual for me to buy another guide, and as I did not have the right change she added 10 pence from her own money to help me pay for it.
On this occasion, we met a couple of young men who wanted us to lighten their path so that they could jump over a small sand-hill on their mountain bikes. There was me thinking we were mad! Well, we weren’t the only ones.
Climbed up Carr Ridge on Urra Moor, followed by Round Hill at Botton Head. The highest point on the whole walk 454 m. Feeling fresh, no blisters, not in too much pain. Feeling optimistic and happy.
Bloworth Crossing, then the never ending Old Railway Line crossing, which was great, a bit windy but bearable; full moon so at some stage I switched off my head torch as I could see clearly. Blackey Moor, passed the Lion Inn, I was surprised to see lights on so early in the morning. Ralph Cross, turn right at Rosedale head. Found walking on the road harder than on path.
Reached Fat Betty, paid our respects, took yet more photographs. One of my companions took forever to change hers socks, left a few souvenirs to fatty. Arrived at the “Fryup”, did not feel like having a fry up. Turn left saw another LWW stone, set off to the boggy section.
The Boggy section: 5 miles. Good thing, it was light, I think I would have drowned in the dark. The book recommends to leave heavy rucksacks and equipment with the back-up team, no choice for us since, we did not have a back team; definitely, not recommended. On my first attempt, I did have Bernard as my back-up team. My poor old chap waited for me at all meeting points, unfortunately as I was so delayed, I could not meet him. The reception was bad, therefore, I could not warn him.
The path marked by stones was even boggier and more frightening, so we walked to the left of the path as it was safer! Once I read a blog of two women that stopped their walk in tears at the boggy section, they were terrified to see such a massive wet area. I could see now how difficult and overwhelming this part of the walk was. We crossed the roadside, reached the brow of the hill and trig point 432 metres. It was wet at some points and felt exactly like the book stated, bouncing across and sinking into it; however it was kind to our knees and sore feet.
The Hammer, after 8.5 miles, we were relieved to leave the boggy section, due to its difficulty it delayed us. Saw the “Blue Man i th Moss”. Wheeldale Plantation, crossed Wheeldale Road, a more picturesque scenery, as written in the book. Legs stiff. Roman Road at the top of the hill; then down at the stepping stones across Wheeldale Beck, feeling hot as the sun was strong, passed the railway crossing- the railway line of the North York Moors Railway; beautiful nature reserve Fen Bog. On our way to check point five.
Eller Beck seven miles left, seven miles? It seemed an eternity! Legs really stiff now. At Eller Beck Bridge car park, an Asian couple in their car looked at us as if we were extraterrestrials landing on earth! I saw a lady sitting down next to her car knitting a pink something. She gave me a big smile, I think she understood our bravery and determination, or more likely felt sorry for us, as by then we looked dellusionaly tired. Crossed the bridge, then spent a few minutes trying to cross the very busy road. A sign to alert drivers that “LWW heroes” may be crossing that road is seriously needed. Just when I though, the boggy section was over, there was more of it. This was followed by man made stoney access road-hard to walk on it.
Lilla Howe frankly, this section to me was a bit of a blur, do not remember much detail. We were tired, stiff, a bit wet, steep ascent up steps, followed by gravel path. We could see the so near and yet so far mast; crossed the A171, straight wet and stony path, but hard to walk. Finished at the Lyke Wake Stone at Beacon Howe by the mast Hurray!
Smailes B. The Lyke Wake Walk, (2013), 4th edition. Challenge Publications.
I’d heard of the Lyke Wake Walk a long time ago but didn’t have any great yearning to do it. I’ve done the Coast to Coast one and a half times, half the Pennine Way (the last half), the Wye Valley Walk (quite boring) and a few others. Every year I organise what my walking club call the ‘Long Walk’, being not quite the Marsden to Edale route. We start from Wessenden Head and mainly ignore the slabs of the Pennine Way, making a direct line across Bleaklow and Kinder, slogging up watery cloughs and crossing what bogs are left after the National Trust’s multi-million pound environmental protection work.
I’d also walked from Manchester to Mansfield, about 63 miles – the idea coming, as is usual, after several pints in a local pub. My friend John who lives in Manchester thought it would be a good idea to walk back to his parents’ house in?Mansfield. We did cheat though and stopped roughly half-way at Eyam youth hostel. The aches and pains of that walk all but put me off long distance stuff.
The seed of doing the LWW was planted last winter, again in a pub after Monday night snooker with a different friend called John. He’d done the walk in 1981 and thought I should take up the challenge as he handed me a creased copy of Bill Cowley’s the ‘Lyke Wake Walk’, 1980 edition. I read bits of it and put the idea to one side for the time being. It would definitely be my longest walk.
During the summer one or two holiday plans went wrong so the idea of doing the walk grew. No one wanted to, or was available to walk with me, so I decided to do it solo.
I thought the support party needed to be more than one, so Anne and I drove to Scarborough, met up with John who was there for cricket and drove to Osmotherley to the Golden Lion.?We went across the road to a ‘proper pub’ the Queen Catherine for Wainwright beers and then back for a late drink at the Golden Lion after all the diners had left. Up at 4.45am. Had some cornflakes and tea and set off at 5.30 am. The support party slumbered on as I didn’t want meeting until the White Lion. Lovely sunny morning. I started my GPS up, and walked at a brisk pace up the lane and then alongside the reservoir, adding 1.5 miles to the day. Distances given in the summary are from the official start stone.
I reached the car park just before 6 am and spotted the marker stone up on the hill opposite. After a quick selfie I?was soon heading for Huthwaite Green. Just before there I caught up with another group. It felt a bit presumptuous to be talking about doing the LWW at that early stage so I just said hello and went on. Up on to Live Moor and on towards Carlton Bank, jogging or trotting (I?can’t say ran) on the downhills. Lord’s Stone cafe area at 7.35 am. Had a short break to get a banana out of my bag and put a plaster on my right heel, then set off eating on the move. Up to Cringle Moor, more downhill jog-trotting, then up to the impressive Wain Stones, then down to the road at Clay Bank Top. 8.50 am, 9 miles. Then more uphill and had an hour or so overtaking about 20 spread out Coast-to Coasters who’d been staying overnight in Great Broughton. Had a quick chat with some of them.
Bloworth Crossing and then along the old railway trackbed. I remembered how tedious everyone had found this section when we did the Coast to Coast in 2000. However you can make good time here so its not all bad. I did a mixture of jogging and fast walking to make the miles pass. Eventually the White Lion was in sight above and to the left. Anne and John looking out for me as I approached. I reached there at 11 am. About 17.5 miles. I had a headache and felt a bit dizzy due to not drinking enough.
Drinks, flapjack and a change of socks made all the difference and forsaking the White Lion I set off on the road, around the head of the dale – finally reaching the straight path across Rosedale Moor. (The path is marked by white arrows and ‘LWW’ on the road)
Another satisfying landmark reached as I?crossed from the North York Moors west map to the east map. Lovely clear weather over here, I?could see Drax power station. Met up with a couple of bird watchers who were hoping to see a golden plover. They told me there was a group of women about half an hour ahead. ‘Oh I’ll have to catch them up’, I said, pleased to have another target to spur me on. Then met a mother and daughter, also birdwatching who’d turned back at the boggy area. This wasn’t too bad and I zig-zagged round the worst areas without getting wet. Just as well because this walk is a valedictory outing for my old Scarpa boots, the left one of which has an inch long and wide gash right through the leather where it bends. Amazingly the goretex lining still keeps me dry. Support party were at the road and no they hadn’t seen the other group. 24.3 miles.
A quick drink and a tunnocks bar and I?was on White Moor going up to Blue Man -’i-th’ Moss stone. Another photo, then down to the Wheeldale Road, reached at 3.10 pm, 28.3 miles into the walk. Still no sign of the other walkers.
I really felt now that the end was in sight. Only one more section before the longest and final proper moorland section of Fylingdales Moor and then Jugger Howe. Jogged down to the stepping stones across Wheeldale Beck. A stiffish climb out of the valley and across the moor. The Fylingdales triangle getting closer and closer now. The old golf balls were much better to look at. After Simon Howe I was nearly scotched by momentarily following a tempting path alongside a line of grouse butts (should have checked the Lyke Wake Walk Club web route update – the butts aren’t marked on the map) before I swung left slightly and regained the correct path. Then descent down to cross the railway line and Eller Beck, up the hill and to the lay-by, the next staging post. 4.20 pm. 31.7 miles.
My back up team had let me down and no sign of them. However at last I’d caught up with the other group having a rest. I?had a word,?wished them well and then my team arrived. The delay was my fault as I’d overestimated the distance between the Wheeldale road and here. I didn’t stop too long and set off, still in bright sun, crossed the road and followed the path alongside Eller Beck. Then beared left at a bridleway sign, up the moor, joined an MOD track for a short while, then went through the gate and thankfully off MOD land onto open access moorland. Headed up to Lilla Cross, a quick picture and then continued ever eastwards, descending gradually towards Jugger Howe. At the valley, I forced my now weary legs to jog down, a beautiful spot if you have the energy to enjoy it. Then?forced a quick pace up the other side and mercifully on to the flat, jogged fitfully and soon at the lay-by set back from the A171. 6.20 pm. 37.7 miles.
John joined me on the last stage up Stony Marl Moor. As we were talking and I had mistakenly thought this section was three miles instead of just under two, we went passed the trig point. Luckily Anne shouted at us and pointed to it. Navigation failed me at the last and most prominent landmark. Arrived 6.55 pm. 39.5 miles. A few photos and we strolled down to Raven Hall Hotel enjoying the evening light on Robin Hood’s Bay. Arrived at the hotel 7.25 pm. (42 miles from Osmotherley).
It’s a pity really that the walk no longer finishes here. I had considered the finish to be the trig point, so it felt a bit of an anticlimax to be here so we didn’t bother going in. Actually it doesn’t look that inviting for a muddy, sweaty Lyke Wake walker.
Drove to Scarborough, went to the guest house, had a shower and changed. Then tried to find an open chippie. (None open at 9pm). Thank goodness for Wetherspoons who serve until 11pm – had a wonderful chicken curry, two pints of Wold Top, reflected on a great day and then to bed.
Spare a thought for your support party – losing sleep, zig-zagging all over the place, up narrow 1 in 3 roads, finding remote laybys, worrying about meeting you on time. All the difficulty and none of the glory.
‘Solo – Ian Johnson. Support party – John Price, Anne Brimer.’
Leave Lyke Wake Walk stone – 6.00 am
Arrive trig point – 6.55 pm
GPS measured distance – 39.5 miles
Overall time – 12 hours 55 mins.
Walking time – 10 hours 57 mins
Stopped – 1 hour 58 mins
Moving average – 3.6 mph
Overall 3.0 mph.